I am going to attempt to share just one of the more ridiculous legends associated with my family.
It all starts with my great-grandmother who will be 96 in February. (Seriously, she is not slowing down.)
|Here she is a few years ago telling some almost assuredly inappropriate story to Peanut|
Years ago, when everyone still converged upon Mamaw and Papaw's house for Christmas, Mamaw would begin baking weeks in advance. There would be cakes and pies and so many cookies that I would lose count in my attempt to sample each and every one. Cookies were a particular favorite of Mamaws for the simple reason that she could make them pretty far in advance, store them in tins, and place them under the bed in the back bedroom that was not heated when not in use and made the perfect cool, out-of-the-way place to store cookies. It was always a particular favorite of mine to help her bring out the cookies on Christmas Eve. All of us carrying armloads of cookie-laden antique tins from the frigid back bedroom to the cozy warmth of the main house.
|Look at all that sugary goodness|
As we placed each different variety of cookie on its own china plate I always spend extra time arranging the Danish Wedding Cookies (also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes). You know, those little crunchy, almond, bite-size cookies covered to within an inch of their lives with powdered sugar. I always thought they looked so beautiful stacked in a pyramid on Mamaw's blue china. And the fact that I got to lick the powdered sugar off my fingers when we were done didn't hurt either.
Everyone came to Mamaw and Papaw's for Christmas Eve. My Aunt and Uncle and Cousin who lived just up the street from Mamaw and Papaw. And my Aunt and Uncle who lived clear across the state would come a few days earlier with their incredibly old, incredibly fat Cocker Spaniel. Their grown sons would come and after a few years would bring their wives and families with them. It was crowded in Mamaw and Papaw's house and the back bedroom was often pressed into use for the only time that year. But everyone loved it. At the time no one could imagine being anywhere else.
It was, however, more than slightly odd when one year, a few days before Christmas, my Aunt's arthritic dog came waddling into the living room with white powder all over his already gray snout.
"What in the world?" But then recognition of what had happened dawned on everyone.
Sure enough, a mad scramble to the back bedroom revealed an upset cookie tin and a powdered sugar snow all over Mamaw's freshly scrubbed wood floors and braided rag rugs.
Mamaw was inconsolable. The dog spent the rest of the holidays in the garage. My Aunt was in self-imposed shame. And on the Christmas Eve table there was a noticeable absence of Danish Wedding Cookies.
To everyone who entered and commented on the abundance of the table, my Mamaw would respond, "Well, there would have been more, but that dog. . ." My Aunt, understandably soon grew tired of this and took up a spot on the patio.
Mamaw has never again made "Dog Cookies" (as they have come to be known within the family) again. Shortly after the Dog Cookie incident the family kind of scattered as families tend to do. We still try to get together on Christmas Eve, but never again have Dog Cookies or an actual dog, for that matter been part of the festivities.
Mamaw's Dog Cookies
1 Cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (the recipe traditionally employs almonds, but this being the south Mamaw always has favored pecans)
3/4 Cup powdered sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Combine flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add butter, pecans, 1/4 Cup powdered sugar, and vanilla. Dough will be stiff. Shape dough into 1" balls and place 2" apart on lightly sprayed cookie sheets. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool briefly. While still warm roll in remaining powdered sugar and place back on wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container in a cool, dark place (such as under a bed in a back bedroom) for up to a month. Keep away from wayward Cocker Spaniels.